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Saturday, November 14, 2009
Electric Pickle, Miami
Better Than: Yachting on Biscayne Bay.
Hong Kong is a long way from Miami, but YACHT was somehow convinced to do a small, two-city Florida trek between the Chinese financial capital and subsequent Korean dates. Logistically it doesn't make sense, but we aren't going to argue with it. It was a rare treat seeing the Portland, Oregon, duo live. Their latest effort, See Mystery Lights, has enjoyed immense critical success--notoriously picky music site Pitchfork awarded it an 8.5 rating.
Saturday, YACHT delivered an energetic performance at Poplife. Confined to a cramped stage upstairs, the duo were a visual and audible yin and yang--Jona Bechtolt in a white and Claire Evans in black. Interestingly enough, the only "musical instrument" on stage was Bechtolt's MacBook that was programmed with the backing tracks and visuals that cued up to the beats. Other than pressing the play button, there was really no other interaction with the laptop, instead Bechtolt and Evans focus on singing and putting on a show.
I'm not sure how much improvising there can be with a pre-programmed
set, but if it was limiting the duo didn't show it. The performance
still felt raw, there was even a technical glitch during "I'm in Love
With a Ripper" which had the duo cut the song short when the music and
visuals suddenly stopped. They tried performing it again,
successfully, two songs later.
The set consisted heavily on material from their breakthrough album,
including "The Afterlife," "Psychic City (Voodoo City)," and "Summer
Song," as well as the immensely catchy b-side "Waste of Time."
If you're truly devoted to YACHT, you know how much religion and
religious imagery play into the duo's act and they bring the same cues
to their live performance. Bechtolt's white suit looked something that a
flashy Southern Baptist minister would wear while Evans looked somewhat
nun-like. The show at times felt like a gospel revival oddly set to a
nu-disco beat. Evans reached into the crowd and placed her hand on
people's foreheads and then pushed them back as they fell into musical
Personal Bias: I think I've said it before when I reviewed the Juan MacLean, but DFA can do no wrong in my book.
Random Detail: I could feel the floor shake and bend as everyone danced
and jumped like crazy. It was a bit unnerving because I was sure we
were going to crash into the floor below.
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By the Way: The Blow, who Jona Bechtolt has produced music for, will be
performing at Pulse Miami Art Fair at Ice Palace Studios on December 5.